Off the Leash Off the Leash

How Many Pets is Too Many?

When it comes to pet ownership, what do you consider "normal"?

By Vetstreet May 16, 2012 4:31PM
Photo: Janice Lin/Flickr Select/Getty Imagesby Kristen Seymour, Vetstreet

When it comes to pet ownership, what do you consider "normal"?
If you grew up in an area of the country where all of your neighbors owned a plethora of cats and dogs, you probably can't imagine having just one canine companion.
But if your childhood was spent lavishing attention on a single cat, the idea of being outnumbered by four-legged family members probably sounds nothing short of sheer chaos.
We were curious to see how much the average number of pets per household varied by state, so we combed Vetstreet's data to determine just how many cats and dogs inhabit homes across the nation.
Double the Fun: Homes With Dogs and Cats
One of the clearest trends we noticed: Homes that had both canines and felines often had more of each kind of animal. In some cases, the difference was particularly notable — in Oklahoma, the average home with just cats or dogs had 1.41 dogs and 1.34 cats. But homes that housed canines and kitties jumped to an average of 1.83 dogs and 1.57 cats per family.
Plenty of Heart in the Heartland
States in the Midwest — which benefit from more wide-open spaces — also tended to have more pets per household. By comparison, the Northeast corridor had the lowest number of pets per family.
It raises the question: Is it a matter of having ample acreage or a different mindset? There's no telling from our data, but we'd love to hear how many pets you have in your own home. And while we're on the subject, how many pets are just too many?

Photo: Janice Lin/Flickr Select/Getty Images

May 30, 2012 5:26AM
First San Diego, now New Hampshire... 3 cats.  Would only be 2, but one was diagnosed with a serious heart condition that would substantially shorten his life.  We didn't want our baby girl (i.e. our first cat) to go through it alone, so we got another cat for kitty support.  Can't imagine life without any of them. With hard work and love, our poor little man with the bad heart has continued to surprise vets by living not just 1 yr after being diagnosed, but 4 years and still going (although we've been told not for much longer....  And it's for real this time).   He's already exceeded the lifespan of a cat with his condition though. 
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